2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 14

Week 14 (6/28/2006)


“Remember, each day is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present!”


America’s Best present, freedom, was received two hundred and thirty years ago. Ever since the wrapping was torn off that gift, our nation has celebrated its independence with family picnics, parties with friends and fire works.  What else deserves such a grand time? Without our freedom we wouldn’t have the opportunities that we, as Americans, do everyday. America’s Best Flowers wants to make sure that everyone’s celebrations are full of color and fun.


In celebration of America’s independence, this weekend America’s Best Flowers will be serving Free Ice Cream on Saturday and Sunday.  While you’re here, check out our selection of red, white and blue flowers.  We’ve got beautiful hanging baskets, containers, and pouches that shout “Happy Fourth of July!” 


If you missed our Herb Workshop last Saturday, you really missed a fun-filled and informative morning. Pat Greathead told us some VERY interesting facts.  Did you know that basil planted next to your tomato plants will result in more tomatoes?  She also taught us about lovage, “the Bloody Mary” herb.  When you put a leaf into your drink, your twizzler not only tastes like celery, but because of its hollow stem, doubles as a straw you can sip your drink through.  We learned how to make cuddly cat toys with catnip and how to plant a lemon herb container using lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon thyme and lemon mint.  Everyone who attended had a wonderful time. Best of all, this class was FREE!


Don’t miss the next exciting opportunity America’s Best has for you!!


This Thursday, June 29, at 6:30 PM, Jan Vergeer, of the Langeveld Company, will present a Container Water Gardening Workshop.  Jan was here in April for a Bulb-Planting Workshop. His entertaining and educational approach was delightful.  We look forward to listening to him again as he teaches us the basics of water gardening in containers.  If there is any way you can fit this into your schedule, we guarantee you a wonderful time.


The container workshops held in May were such a success, we are repeating them for summer containers.  You have two opportunities to join us for this Summer Container Workshop.  Thursday evening, July 6 from 5 – 8 pm and Saturday, July 8 from 10 am – 3 pm, we will have staff available to help you plant beautiful summer containers with heat-loving annuals.  You can purchase containers from our exciting collection or bring your own.  We will provide the soil.  Join us and see what fun it is to create your very own planters when you have a greenhouse full of plants to choose from.


There is no fee to attend the above workshops.  If you have questions regarding them, please call 222-2269.


“What happened when the dog visited the flea circus?  He stopped the show!”


 Your fabulous perennial garden can stop the traffic, too.  Let us help you.  In continuation of our celebration of June as Perennial Gardening Month, America’s Best Flowers is featuring Echinacea ‘Magnus’ (purple coneflower) as the Perennial of the Week. ‘Magnus’ won the Perennial Plant of the Year for 1998.  This zone 3 perennial has an upright habit with dark green, lance-shaped foliage.  The dramatic seed heads, which follow daisy-like rose flowers, will attract birds and butterflies. Coneflowers grow best in rich, well-drained soil in part to full sun. Magnus grows to 4 feet, and is a great addition to the prairie garden, the border garden, and in containers.  ‘Magnus’ makes great cut flowers. 


“Why did the dolphin quit the air show?  He felt like a fish out of water.”


Tip of the Week – Sit Back and Relax.


For many of us, this weekend marks the beginning of the entertainment season.  And what a season it is!  We plan, we phone, we shop, we decorate, we mow, we clean, we check supplies, we shop again, we cook, we carry lawn chairs and coolers outside, and we fret about the weather.  When the guests arrive it all starts over.  Pouring, serving, clearing, fetching and recycling can fill hours, if we let them.  So part of the planning needs to include ways to have some time for you to sit back and enjoy your party, too. Maybe an e-mail sent to everyone with one push of the button can replace two hours of phone calls.  Making your event a potluck will eliminate much of the shopping and cooking.  Be sure to have everyone bring their own beverages, table service and lawn chairs.  Let America’s Best Flowers help you with the decorating. We have beautiful baskets & containers of blooming plants ready to go.  Or use the unique water garden container you make at Thursday night’s workshop.  And finally, don’t mow.  Your lawn will do better with foot traffic if it’s a little bit longer.  With all that settled, all that’s left for you to do is fret about the weather. 


 “If you’re unable to strike a balance in the beginning, you can’t have it in the end.”  (Our friend, Al)


Garden Resolutions


“I will not let my garden hold me captive!”  If you feel overwhelmed with the demands your garden is placing on you, you’re not alone.  This is the time of year when the feeding, weeding and deadheading can get to the most dedicated gardener.  A pamphlet crossed my desk today entitled Living with Stress from Speaking of Women’s Health, a production of Lifetime Television.   It has some good advice, ‘To be good is a reasonable goal, to be perfect is asking for trouble.’  


I’m one of those people who struggles with perfectionism in many areas of my life.  If every room but one in the house is clean, all I see is the dirty one.  If all the $20.00 bills don’t face the same way, I have to face them.  And certainly if I am deadheading my flowers, every single brown blossom (as well as those that almost are) must go.  Trust me, this is no way to live. 


Your plants will be fine if moderation is practiced.  Yes, we encourage regular feeding of your plants.  But don’t skip a nap in the hammock on a hot summer day to do it.  Certainly your flower beds need to be weeded.  But try just once to only pull the ones that are over a certain height, or all of one variety, or those which have gone to seed.  Take your pick, but once that particular group of weeds is gone, sit on the porch and have an ice-cold lemonade. 


On the deadheading front – like almost all fronts in life – try for the 80% rule.  If 80% of the dead flowers are removed from your annual plants, they will certainly flower again.  Your perennials will too, if they are rebloomers to begin with.  So after you’ve clipped off the majority of the easiest to reach dead blossoms in your bed, spend a little time smelling the open blossoms that remain. 


 “What building has the most stories? The library.”


Question Corner


“My neighbor uses Epsom Salts around his tomatoes and peppers.  Is this a good idea?” Using Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) on tomatoes and peppers has been around for many years.  Gardeners who use it have many different methods. Some sprinkle a tablespoon or two around each plant when they plant and again mid-season.  Others water their plants 3-4 times during the season with 1 or 2 tablespoons dissolved in a gallon of water. And some spray the foliage 2 or 3 times a season with 1 tablespoon dissolved in a gallon of water.  If you want to give it a try, choose one method only and experiment on a few plants.  Moderation is the best approach until you have decided what works best for you.  Many rose growers use Epsom Salts in the same ways.


“We are installing new landscape beds in our yard and were wondering, do we still need to apply Preen in those beds, now that summer is here?”  YES!  Weed seeds are blowing into your beds all the time.  Preparing new beds will turn up new seeds that may have been lying dormant for years.  By applying Preen now, you’ll stop those weed seeds before they ever get growing.  Be sure to follow label instructions.


“I have a problem with thistle growing in my landscape.  I cut it off, but it just keeps coming back.  It’s driving me crazy. Is this coming from the thistle seed I feed the birds? What can I do?”  First of all, the seed you are feeding is Niger seed and is not actually thistle at all.  It’s imported into the United States and is sterilized before it gets here.

The patch of thistle you are dealing with is an extremely hardy perennial with a very extensive root system below the soil surface.  When you pull or cut thistle, it simply re-grows 3 or 4 new plants.  The best way to remove this pest from your landscape is to spray it with Roundup.  This will kill the existing plant and some of the roots around it.  When it pops up again, do the same, and keep doing this until you eventually kill the entire system of underground thistle roots.  It may take all season, but persistence will pay off in the end.  Thistle roots can remain viable under the surface of the soil for over 100 days without any foliage on top.  Combine that fact with it’s extensive root system, and you can see why it takes so long to get rid of a thistle patch.


If you have gardening questions you would like addressed in this newsletter, please e-mail them to ed@americasbestflowers.com

Please put “Question for Newsletter” in the subject line.  Otherwise it may not

reach my desk.


“Do you know who the father of all bad jokes is?    Pop ‘Corn’”


Bonnie’s Kitchen


Fourth of July Mini Cheesecakes

makes 12


12 vanilla wafers

2 8oz. packages softened cream cheese

1/2 c sugar

1t vanilla

2 eggs


blueberry and cherry pie filling or fresh fruit 


Line muffin tin with foil liners


Place one vanilla wafer in each liner.  Mix cream cheese, vanilla and sugar on medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs.  Mix well.  Pour over wafers, filling 3/4 full.  Bake 25 minutes at 325"


Remove from pan when cool. Chill.  Top with pie filling or fruit.


 “Teacher:  ‘Class, give me a sentence with politics in it.’

   Student:  ‘My parrot Poly ate a clock, and now, Poly tics.’”

Carol and Ed Knapton, owners of Americas's Best Flowers You’ll Love Your Garden … It’s Our Promise! May the Holy Spirit Guide You! God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
Sec – Treasurer Berry Hill Farms, Inc.
DBA Americas Best Flowers Garden Center
4311 Vilas Hope Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527
608-222-2269 Fax 608-222-1234 Cell 608-698-5627